Facebook users warned about spreading virus

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Facebook users warned about spreading virus

Watch out! Clicking a link posted from your friend’s Facebook message can infect a virus on your computer, a local computer security company AhnLab said yesterday.

According to AhnLab, a Facebook posting with short messages such as “Hello,” “Hi,” “Hey,” or “Aloha” with a Web link has been sent to Facebook users in Korea since last weekend.

AhnLab said the computer virus spreads instantly on the Web, because many Facebook users clicked the link on the message without questioning doing so because the name of the sender is a Facebook friend.

AhnLab said this is the first case of the virus spreading through Facebook in Korea.

Clicking the link on the message will lead users to a Web site that pops up with a message asking users to install Codec if they want to watch a video clip on the site.

AhnLab said installment of Codec will include the download of a fake computer vaccine called “Windows Security Alert,” which will automatically send the same message to the user’s Facebook friends.

Though the virus doesn’t cause serious damage on computer systems, AhnLab said it can slow down computer systems and irritate the nerves of users because the virus pops up with alert messages on a regular basis. Free and for-pay computer vaccines are available to treat the virus, computer security experts said.

Word about the virus spread quickly on cyberspace, “Facebook Dae Han Min Guk (Republic of Korea),” a Facebook community that represents Korean users, warned users not to click the link and report the matter to Facebook administrators.

Facebook boasts of having more than 500 million users worldwide and there are nearly 1.5 million Korean users as of this month, according to facebakers.com.

“The way of spreading a computer virus changed in light of the growing use of social networking sites such as Facebook, and now it aims to hunt down social networking site users,” said Jeon Seong-hak, a senior official at AhnLab.

“If you received a message with a link from a person you know through Twitter or Facebook, it is advised that you check with the person whether he or she actually sent the message before clicking the link.”

The virus infection through social networking sites has been reported in other countries but this is the first case in which Korean users have become victims of such a virus.

By Kim Mi-ju, Song Ji-hye [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]
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